Councilor prods East Providence property owners to properly display house numbers

Mourato, a Bristol Police officer, says it’s a matter of personnel, public safety

By Mike Rego
Posted 1/22/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — At the January 21 meeting of the body, Ward 4 Councilor Ricardo Mourato took a light-hearted approach to a serious public safety issue encouraging residents to prominently …

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Councilor prods East Providence property owners to properly display house numbers

Mourato, a Bristol Police officer, says it’s a matter of personnel, public safety

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — At the January 21 meeting of the body, Ward 4 Councilor Ricardo Mourato took a light-hearted approach to a serious public safety issue encouraging residents to prominently display their house numbers to assist police and fire personnel during emergency situations.

Calling his effort, “Is your number up?”, Mr. Mourato, a long-serving member of the Bristol Police Department, spoke about the need to educate property owners about the need for their address number to be in a clearly posted area of their residences.

Citing Chapter 4, “Buildings And Building Regulations,” (see box at left) of the revised ordinances in the City Charter, he noted regulations on the matter already exist, though some property owners, knowingly or otherwise, are not abiding.

While introducing the topic for discussion last week, Mr. Mourato said he thought the tagline “was a catchy phrase.” He admitted to not coming up with the idea himself, rather he said he “stole” the concept from the United Kingdom, where it originated, as well as from a colleague in Bristol, town fire department employee James Wilson. Mr. Mourato credited Mr. Wilson for coming up with this slogan years ago.

Of the rationale behind the effort, Mr. Mourato explained, “Being a police officer for 19 years, I can honestly attest to the fact that after hours, especially second and third shift, trying to find a house number of a person who is need of police or rescue, and the number is not properly displayed on the house, it’s very frustrating. I know it happens all over and I know it’s happening in East Providence as well as other communities.”

He continued, based on his law enforcements experience, the house number should be placed prominently anywhere around the front entry of the home, whether it be at the top or bottom, the right or the left side. Mr. Mourato said while some homeowners comply with the ordinance by having their numbers on mailboxes, “when located across the street it just takes that extra minute or two to find you.”

The councilor added, “Injuries can occur at any time so I ask that you ensure your house number is clearly visible from the road by day and night, so that when need police, fire, EMT we can find you easily. If we can’t find you, we can’t help you.”

Mr. Mourato drew chuckles as he completed his remarks, saying at the very least with the increase use by consumers of phone apps for home food delivery, residents should at the very least assist drivers by displaying their house numbers in conspicuous places.

At-Large Councilor Bob Rodericks referenced his 30 years visiting city homes while working for the East Providence School Department in showing his support for the effort. Mr. Rodericks cited how some house numbers were “in bad spots or some had no numbers at all…It’s really a safety issue."

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.